The reason why such a large number of men are drawn to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, is because the themes and values presented in the show aren’t readily available elsewhere.

Bronies. Perhaps you know one of them. If you don’t … you will. It’s really only a matter of time. Long story short: Hasbro went back to its once-popular “My Little Pony” line and relaunched it a few years ago as a new cartoon called My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Kids liked it. Girls liked it. And before too long, teenage guys and grown men liked it. And thus, the “Brony” was born.

Your friendly neighborhood conservative was challenged to write on the phenomenon, and I accepted. Last night I watched the first two episodes of “MLPFIM.” And yes, I perused Equestria Daily.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is an intelligent show. The animation is fantastic. The messages and themes are commendable. The episodes I watched centered around a character named Twilight Sparkle and her friends. Each pony embodied a trait or value that ultimately prevented their home world from becoming shrouded in eternal darkness.

Apple Jack: Honesty. Fluttershy: Kindness. Pinkie Pie: Laughter. Rarity: Generosity. Rainbow Dash: Loyalty.

To me, it isn’t the Brony we should be concerned about, but the culture that produced them. The traditional means of instilling values into young men have broken down so much that they turn to a cartoon geared (generally) for young girls to acquire them. Despite being raised in the moral relativist morass produced by Hollywood, media, and academia, these young men have rejected it. And in that sense, I’m glad.

As I’ve stated before, the Seven Army Values are: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. The world would be a much better place if teenage boys were taught these values, but they’re not. Modern American culture does not offer much of a moral compass — and it certainly doesn’t encourage young men to look to the U.S. military for one. And so, needing someone to give them direction and meaning, Hasbro has inadvertently stepped in with My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

Faced between having to watch reruns of Captain Planet (and his brainwashed planeteers) and MLPFIM, I pick the ponies any day of the week. As regular readers know, I’m more of a fan of The Avengers. And Frank Miller. And The Watchmen. And The Dark Knight. But just because I like traditional “masculine” fare, I can’t help but think that only a meat head would go out of his way to mock Bronies without at least doing a little research first.

I look at a Brony and see someone who has, at least on a cursory level, rejected the liberal moral relativist/multi-cultural worldview. Once I can establish that with someone, I know I at least have a shot of dispelling a few conservative stereotypes.

It’s important to not always judge a book by its cover, or a guy by … the title of the television show he watches. Concentrate on changing the culture instead of mocking the individual and you’ll get better results.

Update: Hotair covers BronyCon

15 comments

  1. I’ve never watched FIM, although I have heard good things about it. Probably because I’m a guy, I’ve never paid much attention to My Little Pony, but this show actually sounds pretty decent if the good reviews I keep hearing are any indication. Maybe I’ll have to check it out. As for Captain Planet, I hated that show even when I was a little kid. Even then I recognized that it was left-wing eco-propaganda.

    1. Ha. Well, I suggest sticking to Avengers EMH (even though it’s been cancelled). That was the perfect Avengers cartoon and they ditched it! I won’t be watching FIM again anytime soon, but if I had a daughter I’d watch it with her.

  2. Same here. I probably won’t watch it, since, being a guy, ponies have never actually been my thing. If I had a girlfriend who liked it I’d probably watch it with her, but never on my own. Ha. And I didn’t know that EMH had been cancelled; I was actually enjoying that show.

  3. I think your hypothesis as to the popularity is not entirely without merit, and when I started watching the show, I too was surprised and impressed by the values it taught.

    Although the brony community was unexpected and is probably unique in its rapid growth and the creative energy of its members, it is not entirely unprecedented; other cartoons for young girls have picked up peripheral fan bases of college-age men before this. Judging from what I see on brony websites, I think it’s the likable feminine characters rather than the moral maxims that keep them tuning in every week.

    The fan base is also sustained to a large extent by its detractors; the bronies first appeared on a site called 4chan, where they were continuously harassed, and many of them clearly bask in the negative, shocked reactions they get. Bronyism has a strong streak of rebelliousness, though not against anything in particular aside from the expectation that men don’t watch My Little Pony.

    1. Thanks for the comment. In some sense I’d be sad if Bronies needed detractors to fuel their love for the show. I believe the creator of the show also did Powerpuff Girls, which also had extremely likable female leads … so I won’t discount your points.

      I looks like on this issue we might be able to meet half way. Thanks again for the read.

  4. I’ll admit it. I’m 30 years old, a Conservative, and consider myself a Brony. I’ve always enjoyed doing art in my spare time and think of animation as one of the most dynamic mediums of storytelling. Even so, when a friend suggested I watch an episode of My Little Pony, I was definitely skeptical. I gave it the benefit of the doubt and was shocked that I not only liked it but wanted more. My initial thought was what a shame it was that the show was targeted so directly at girls. If any one gender of our youth needs a moral compass, it’s boys. Every day, the institutions that traditionally taught boys and young men values are undermined by the leftist media. The military, the church, the family, even the Boy Scouts are pariahs in the press. That young men are choosing pastel ponies who sing (often literally) the praises of virtue over some of the utter garbage on TV these days gives me real hope. Good parents try to instill values likes the ones taught in My Little Pony in their children. If, as adults, we don’t subscribe to those truths ourselves, we are effectively lying to our children. It doesn’t make sense to teach them those lessons at a young age and then mock them when, as adults, they seek to reinforce those truths in one of the few places they can still find them. If nothing else, maybe we can at least be thankful that Bronies are occupying their time with cartoons instead of occupying Wall Street, doing drugs, or engaging in some other destructive behavior. And when it comes to masculinity, if you’re an adolescent male, I personally think it takes some serious balls to dress up as Rainbow Dash and parade around town. Displaying kindness is just as important as displaying strength when it comes to being a man. I was fortunate to have parents who instilled me with a strong set of values and what my father always called a “crap-detector.” I think the joy I find in being a part of My Little Pony’s unconventional fan base is watching people gravitate toward the undeniable goodness of the show and the simple truths I learned at church, in Boy Scouts, and at home. In short, the kids are alright. It’s time we take a step back and let them be.

    1. Nice!

      The funny thing is, this particular post has gotten steady traffic for almost two years now. It’s a steady drip. I should go into the weeds and find out exactly how many views this page has gotten since I first wrote it. The idea of “conservative bronies” seems to fascinate people, if my WordPress stats are remotely accurate.

  5. I am a Christian, and Pokemon fan, and I am also a Brony… It is good to find something actually wholesome for a change…

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Greg. I appreciate it. I agree with you that there should be more wholesome television shows out there. 🙂

  6. Starting on S5 now on netflix, I think it’s about time to revisit this idea, Doug. Especially episodes 501 & 502 (a 2 parter) and 519 “Crusaders of the Lost Mark”. 😉

    1. You went deep into the Douglas Ernst Blog vault to return to this post, Nate. Impressive! I can’t promise I’ll check these out, but it is definitely on my radar. I’ll circle back with you if I end up watching the episodes you mentioned.

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